By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-04-14 Print this article Print

Sapias Your local cable company, telephone company or beer distributor has hundreds of vehicles roaming around the city, fixing problems, installing lines and delivering vital comestibles. But keeping track of all those vehicles is a nightmare. Do you wonder why you have to wait all afternoon for the cable guy—and then he doesnt even show up on time? Its because fleet management is not easy. But with Sapias on-demand fleet management product—a hosted service—the central office can keep in constant contact with its metro fleet. Heres how it works:
Each vehicle gets outfitted with a GPS-enabled black box or a GPS-enabled phone. That device constantly updates the system with details on exactly where Waldo is, and how hes tracking against schedule.
With business rules and alerts, this enables all sorts of interesting features. Imagine receiving a phone call when the cable guys a half hour away—or being able to track his estimated arrival time via the Web. Need to make an emergency call? The dispatcher can easily find out whos closest—and who might have a bit of free time. The system lacks the ability to close the loop and set up schedules, though. A linear programming model that will provide best path fitting across an entire fleet is under development and is expected later this year. Still, "this is very sexy technology," according to Kertzmann. By applying rules for route efficiency, drivers end up making at least one more call a day. "It pays for itself in 90 days," he claimed. Next page: Five9 targets the call center.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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